A 43-year-old Richmond man has been charged with murder in connection with a hit-and-run drunken driving crash that killed a motorcyclist in San Pablo on April 7, according to court records.In addition to murder, Juan Manuel Ruelas has been charged gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs causing injury, driving with a blood alcohol level of more than .08 percent causing injury, leaving the scene of an injury accident and driving with a suspended license, according to a complaint filed Monday in Contra Costa County Superior Court.The complaint further alleges that Ruelas was convicted on Jan. 2 in Alameda County of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. As a result of that conviction, he was on probation, his license had been suspended and he had been ordered to attend DUI classes, police said.The crash in San Pablo happened at about 9:15 p.m. on April 7 in the 2500 block of Church Lane. When police arrived at the scene, they found the motorcyclist, 35-year-old Richmond resident Anthony Walker, suffering from massive injuries, San Pablo police Lt. Jim Creekmore said.He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the coroner’s office.Ruelas had abandoned his pickup truck at the scene and fled on foot, but a witness was able to identify him, Creekmore said.San Pablo police arrested him at his home in Richmond at about 3 a.m. the following morning.Creekmore said that after his arrest, Ruelas allegedly admitted to
investigators that he ran from the scene of the crash because he had been drinking.Deputy District Attorney John Cope said that his office was able to charge Ruelas with murder because of his prior DUI conviction. In order to prove that Ruelas murdered Walker, as opposed to committed vehicular manslaughter, prosecutors have to prove that the killing was done with malice, Cope said.The fact that Ruelas had a prior DUI conviction and had attended DUI classes allegedly shows that he knew that driving drunk was dangerous. Prosecutors believe that he knew that if he drove drunk again he could kill someone, but he allegedly went out and did it anyway, which, in legal terms, is implied malice, Cope said.
Copyright © 2010 by Bay City News, Inc. Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.